Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ruth's choice **updated**

I know not why Ruth Kelly has announced her intention to resign from the Cabinet. Some will probably be prepared to take her assertion that she needs to spend more time with her family at face value. Others will hint that she is part of the plot to undermine the Prime Minister. My view, for what it's worth, is that it probably has something to do with the ongoing row within the government over the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, as some Labour conference sources have apparently already suggested.**

If this is the case, then I applaud Ruth for taking an honourable course in relation to a truly baleful piece of legislation. If more ministers are indeed considering resigning as we keep being told, then they should perhaps consider resigning over this rather than in protest at Gordon's leadership.

The HFE Bill was wrong on three counts - wrong to sanction to use of hybrid-human embryos when there is no proven scentific need to do so, wrong to further undermine the position of fathers in today's society by removing the legal requirement for doctors prescribing IVF treatment to take account of a child's need for one, and wrong not to take the opportunity to adjust the time-limit for abortion to take account of medical advances which in exceptional circumstances can allow babies born at 22, 23 or 24 weeks to survive.

Ruth's decision has focused my thoughts on a long-standing personal dilemma of my own in relation to the same issue, to which I will return shortly.

** Thursday 25 Sept update: Apparently it was none of these things. It was, in a word - as they say by way of explanation for the multifarious "big cat" stories that appear here in Derbyshire from time to time - alcohol.

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The Half-Blood Welshman said...

Just one question Paul - if your own view is correct, why did she not give it as her reason? I'm all for principled politicians - but principles are meaningless if nobody knows what they are. A phrase about hiding lights under a bushel springs to mind.

It looks to me, given the hideous timing, as though somebody is trying to hustle Brown by springing a Cabinet crisis on him ahead of schedule - initially I thought it must be Ruth Kelly herself, but now I'm starting to wonder if it's somebody else using her. Put it this way, I don't believe it's a coincidence that this leak comes just after Gordon Brown has delivered a speech lapped up by the Conference.

Paul Linford said...

Well, the obvious answer Halfblood is that she didn't give it as her reason because that would be reported as a political row between her and Brown and she doesn't wish to rock the boat at this juncture. If it is the reason, I suspect she will say so at a later date - possibly in a Commons' personal statememt.

It is possible she is being used, but I never thought it likely (as Mike Smithson did) that she was one of the Cabinet assassins.

Ben said...

If indeed she chose to resign for reasons of honour as you suggest, then she's to be respected for that.

But to do so behind the thinnest and most implausible excuse known to politicians? There's no honour in lying.

And to choose to do so now, rather than when the embryology story had greater currency?

It's far more likely that she was forced out to encourage the others, and told what to say in public; perhaps even to create a story to divert attention from the discovery that Brown's speech was, in the cold light of day, truly awful.

G Eagle Esq said...

Dear Paul

Mrs Dromey is a Member of Opus Dei, a "rigorous" Roman Catholic Order and until her resignation takes effect, she is a Member of this wretched Government with all the perks of being in the Cabinet

If this Lady really has moral principles, why (while a Member of Opus Dei) was she content to remain in the Cabinet with all the perks of Cabinet Office while HER Government criminalized Roman Catholic Adoption Agencies

Yr obedt servant etc


Paul Linford said...

Are you pissed GE? This post is about Ruth Kelly, not "Mrs Dromey."

David Gladwin said...

You'd better hope that all these big cat sightings really are alcohol-induced, Paul - otherwise this one might be a bit close for comfort.

Paul Linford said...

Ah yes, the famous Beast of Belper. I've seen it many times myself, looking across to the Chevin after falling out of the Queen's Head at midnight.

David Gladwin said...

Midnight, you say?

Surely it was a little after that, the last couple of times we left the Queen's Head?